« Look at That | Main | Dylan! »

VancouverMarch 1, 2006

Good god. It's March 1st, and I promised I wouldn't worry about planning the wedding in great detail until today, giving myself a month to pull together both the wedding here, and the actual marriage in Vancouver. (Please, please don't ask about the dress. Just don't. Please. Must get that back out SOON.)

So now I need help. Anyone know anything about doing Vancouver on the cheap? We need a nice(ish) place to stay that's not expensive.

Also, anyone been married there? I'm working on the wedding commissioner and witnesses now, but I'm still stumped over where people have the ceremony. Outside? In April? Hijack a park? Or does one go to City Hall? Anyone? Ask your gay Vancouverite friends, wouldja?

(This is such a specific question, and I just know that I'm going to be astonished by the answer. I know I've said it before, but having this blog is like having access to this vast pool of knowledge. Truly amazing.


I'm out of my league on this one, honey bun. But I'll cheer you on, okay?

I'm cheering you on too!!! :-)

See, I was so excited about the move I almost forgot the WEDDING! Wow, so many great things are happening for you, it makes me so happy!

I dont know too much but if you love the beaches- English Bay is LOVELY and has a good handful of reasonable B&Bs nearby.
Ill try to think of more, been there enough but never married there :)

*sigh* I wish I had advice to give. Good luck!

I'm not gay, but I am a Vancouverite, so I feel I must recommend either Queen Elizabeth Park or VanDusen Gardens. That is, if you are an outdoor kind of person. Oh, and beware the rain! Always have a rain plan.

Here's a page from the Vancouver Park and Rec that might give you some ideas.

Oo! The Rose Garden Tea House in Stanley Park. Right on the ocean, surrounded by squirrels. So cute...

Also, don't forget that sushi is veryvery cheap in Vancouver. Places like Shabusen have all you can eat for $13 Canadian ('bout $10 US).

Sorry, here's the link from the comment above that in my happy gushy rambling I forgot to include.


Don't know what would be $$ for you but my favorite hotel in Vancouver is the Sylvia Hotel at English Bay. Oh so lovely - its an old hotel though so don't expect super modern but its full of charm. And they let you have pets in the hotel. According to their site a mid/low season small room is $75 CAD which you could easily spend onat a B&B. Its all about location and the Sylvia's go that. http://www.sylviahotel.com/rooms-midlow.htm

take the ferry to Victoria to walk around (ferry isn't too expensive), Stanley park is nice, sushi is wonderful, way cool bridge (Lion's Gate bridge??) over to residential area outside of Vancouver city, visit their version of little china(huge walled-off blocks-wide area), or the little island that has arty stores, places to stay, etc.

congrats on so many things! lurve the new house! and my dumb question: Vancouver, B.C. or Vancouver, Washington?

Whoohoo! I didn't realize your wedding was going to be here in Vancouver, Rachel! But here's my info contribution:

Place to stay? We met Graham and Lee Laxton at various restaurants around town -- they own the Greystone Bed & Breakfast in Kitsilano (http://www.greystonebb.com/). Not too expensive, but it's a beautiful area and very central. They are super nice too and I'm sure they'd love to host you guys.

Place for the ceremony? April in Vancouver gets lots of rain (!) so it's really difficult to confidently plan an outdoor wedding here... But Van Dusen Gardens is lovely -- friends of ours had their wedding there last year (but in June). Also outdoors, Spanish Banks at Jericho Beach is very nice too.

Other stuff -- definitely go see Granville Island. Let me know if you want a list of great cheap restaurants or yarn stores!

I second the suggesstion to hit Victoria if you have time. It's lovely, we spent our honeymoon there and I would have stayed forever if I could have. Go have tea at the Empress if you want to do something fun and dressy there. (Okay, I'm a freak, I love having 'tea', with all the little sandwiches and snacks, but it's an experience you won't forget).

I grew up in Seattle, so Vancouver being slightly north will have similar weather, which as others have posted is WET. I'd look for an indoors location, maybe the B&B you stay at would let you have a small ceremony there?

Another vote for excursion to Victoria. Tea at the Empress is a must.

Good luck!

OMG! That is just up the road from Ryan and I...just up the road, I'm saying.

There are some very nice places to stay in Vancouver and I think a wedding in Stanley Park would be just lovely. There is a tea house that might do something like that.

Also the Westin Grand downtown is nice and sometimes they have great deals! I've also stayed in the Quality Inn and found it to be nice, not grand but nice.

ALSO there are a ton of B&B's. OK I'm emailing you separately!

Yes, Victoria! Tea at The Empress Hotel! That is, if you are speaking of Vancouver, BC. I have no clue about Washington.

My husband and I spent a lovely week in Victoria over the holidays. The American $ goes a long way up there, I can tell you that much!

i'm so glad you are having the wedding here in canada!! vancouver is lovely, and hopefully you'll get dry weather. one of my closest friends is a wedding planner in vancouver, so i'll ask her if she knows of any good spots to hit...and i'll ask her about hotels, etc. and let you know what she says. she's about to have a baby, so it may take a few days to get an answer, but she definately would know what you're looking for...are you planning a reception, or ceremony? you already have your jp (commissionaire) from the sounds of it...so that's good...

anyhow...if there are specifics you want me to ask her, let me know.

Hi Rachel!
I live in Whistler - 2 hrs north of Vancouver. We have tons of weddings here. Check out this site for some ideas:


Can't wait to hear where you decide upon.

How exciting that you're getting married here! Definitely check out the Sylvia, and the B&Bs mentioned.

You may also want to check out Nitobe Gardens as a possible site - I had some friends get married there and it was gorgeous. They don't let very many people in for the ceremony so if you've got a small (very small) group it'll be perfect.

Restaurant, button store, fibre - all can be recommended/arranged! Congrats!

Hey I am heading up there tomorrow!
Whistler for a wedding Saturday and then Vancouver for the yarn stores- Let me know if you need me to do research.
Love your house!

I have to second the Sylvia Hotel. It is charming and affordable in English Bay. And as soon as I read your request, I thought, "You should get married at Queen Elizabeth Park!" My mum and I used to go there on Friday afternoons in the Spring after she picked me up from school. I saw so many people getting married there, I always that I'd do it there. It is stunning.
Congratulations on your gorgeous new house!

Vancouver schmancouver. Come to Calgary. You can get married in Banff. It's cheaper here, and there's no Provincial Sales Tax. Bah. Just call me. We'll talk.

Vancouver! One inexpensive place to stay is the Buchan Hotel. http://www.buchanhotel.com/b_location.htm It's a little bit like a European hotel, with a mix of older couples on tour, families, and backpackers. Friendly, laid back -- I think it's great. And it's ONE block's walk from the edge of Lost Lagoon (which is itself the edge of Stanley Park). Last summer at the lagoon I saw a swan's nest full of grey-blue eggs...so lovely. Great place for runners, too, if you're planning on bringing your gear. So exciting!

My partner and I were married in Vancouver 2.5 years ago. We live in Seattle and did it as a day trip so I don't have reccomendations for lodgings. We went to the vital statistics office to get the license (super friendly), then met our marriage commissioner at the Rose Garden in Stanley park. Our commissioner was Johanna Hickey - she is wonderful. At that time they had been doing same sex marriages for 7 weeks, and she had already done about 50 of them. She seemed more excited than we were and on such an overwhelming day she was just what we needed. My favorite part of the whole day was when she said "you've been married in your hearts and in your mind, now you are married in law". Still makes me cry.

I don't know about any of those details, but if you have a few hours one of the nights you're in Vancouver, I can't recommend Vij's restaurant (www.vijs.ca) enough. It's an absolutely delightful restaurant on every level. Very multi-cultural, very Vancouver, and very delicious. Congratulations!

!! There is so much I want to tell you, but will keep it short. You can get married for free -- (meaning that you don't have to pay the park board or anything) no prior arrangements necessary in English Bay at the Inukshuk.



Then you can walk over to the Sylvia for drinks. I have a friend who got married in that spot and it was lovely. I don't want to fill up your comments, but email me if you're wanting more info -- about any of it. I live in Vancouver and would be happy to scout some things out, or even make some local calls for you so you don't have to pay the bucks....

If you're not hooked on Vancouver proper, some of the Gulf Islands are perfect spots for weddings . . but I'm biased -- Our wedding was on Pender Island.

I don't know anything about there. BUT... how about you do your honeymoon in NM for Balloon Fiesta in October! :)

Vancouver is beautiful, just stunning. Until last October I lived on Whidbey Island, a short drive south of the border.

If you're looking for a place to Honeymoon, don't forget you have friends (me!) on Oahu who'd love to have you !!

This place didn't have any openings when we visited Vancouver, but it's supposed to be great:


We did stay here and had an amazing time. The inn is lovely and in a cool neighborhood. We stayed in the smallest room which is truly a bargain. The owner is a wealth of knowledge about the area and we never ran out of things to do. Also, the food was outstanding - beyond outstanding:


I have lots of Vancouver stuff bookmarked. If you'd like some of them, let me know.

I'm a longtime lurker and seldom commentor, but I just want to say how happy I am for you two. Even though I don't know you, the excitement just bursts from you entries. I wish you a wonderful wedding day and a beautiful marriage.

I'm from Colorado, so no help from me :( But, I love how everyone is saying, come to my city, come to mine, come here, come here, come here... Everyone is cheering and clapping for you! Your wedding(s) will be perfect. They will.

Are you actually coming HERE to THIS Vancouver for your wedding???


I just plotzed.

And I'll come up with a ton of suggestions right after I get sleep -- look for email shortly.

We eloped to Vancouver a couple of years ago. We stayed at the Best Western Downtown. Well, actually on the edge of downtown. It is a boutique hotel and looks nothing like a regular Best Western. The room was VERY small but cool, and the bathroom was huge with a garden tub for two.

It was actually a good location because we were able to walk (a few miles) to China Town to get our marriage license at the narrowest building in the world (call ahead if you are getting yours here to make sure that they will be open and that someone will actually be there). We were also were able to walk to downtown and Stanley Park, about 3 miles or so. The neighborhood the hotel is in was sort of shady, but polite. "Would you like to buy some drugs" was prefaced with "Pardon me," and they were just as polite when we declined :)

I would recommend getting married outside. Our marriage commissioner met us at Stanley Park. We got married at the entrance street corner in the Devonian Garden. It can be weird getting married on a corner, but you have ample people to wrangle into being a witness. We had a rollerblader!

Good Luck :)

long-time lurker, first time poster. i have to say that stanley park offers some very lovely vistas that would make any wedding more beautiful! i would just check the weather network as they tend to get a lot of rain! http://www.city.vancouver.bc.ca/parks/parks/stanley/.


I'd have to vote for the Sylvia, too. Affordable, RIGHT on the water, and charming. The West End (where the Sylvia is located) is a great downtown neighbourhood. Most of Vancouver's gay community lives around there. The lesbian community tends to be centred around Commercial Drive, which is also a great area, but not many hotels around there. As a Vancouverite, I don't know if I'd count on an outdoor venue in April though . . . I'd be happy to help you out by answering any other questions.

Hey, my friend Angie (mommy of www.minou.pitou.blogspot.com) attended a fabulous wedding party in Vancouver. Another costume designer friend of hers had this fabulous fete with all sorts of craziness. It was at the end of December, so if you go to Minou's blog, you can see the place where it was held. Also, Ang might have some ideas for you.

You're coming here!!!!!!!!! =D
Damn - I wish I'd been here longer and had advice for you. Let me think and ask friends things...
though I agree with everyone that's recommended the Sylvia, it's in a perfect location and when some of Zak's relatives stayed there lately, they said it was really lovely and not so expensive.
I'm so excited you're coming here, so very excited. :)

Wonderful, all of the suggestions! Wish I could be of more help...all I can say is...NYC could be fun for a Honeymoon!

If it's nice weather, check out the Sun-Yat Sen garden: http://www.vancouverchinesegarden.com/

But mainly my visits back to Vancouver are all about food...

Ice cream: http://www.lacasagelato.com/

Belgian Fries: 1885 Commercial Drive

Indian: http://www.nirvanarestaurant.ca/

Cake: http://www.trueconfections.ca/

Chinese: Hon's, either
268 Keefer Street or on Robson (http://www.shinnova.com/hons_on_robson/)

Congratulations to you and Lala!!!

Here's wishing you a happy girly wedding!

(PinkPurlGirls) Bling!

YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED IN VANCOUVER?! Sorry, I was not yelling, just excited. I am an hour from Vancouver and lived there for 4 years. Hubby works there.

Lots of fantastic suggestions above. If you need any leg work done let me know!

Be aware that rain is unpredictable up here. You just never know pretty much year round. Find a place that offers a covered area.

And yes, you two MUST go to Victoria. Lived there 7 years and if ever there was a place I could live...

Yes, just reading the comments above and the beautiful thing about visiting as an American is that your dollar is worth more. Savings right there my dear!

Squee!!!!!!!! You're getting married in Vancouver!??! Do you have witnesses??? Because if you need a few I bet the Rabbitch would be my date! :-) Go to Victoria for sure - there's a swee BnB there that we stayed at - it's above a little cafe/bakery - only two rooms in the whole place, and it's just lovely. I can get info if you want it.

Well, I notice everyone keeps mentioning parks but no one mentions any rainy-day alternatives. So I went on-line to woolworks.org and saw there are several yarn stores in Vancouver that might be nice spaces to get married in. There's one that's run by Norwegian Bachelor Farmers and their descendants that sells fiber and batts as well as yarn. They have a video of their carding machine, but I couldn't tell from it what type of catering facilities they have. Or do you already have a place in mind for the reception? Anyway, they're at www.birkelandwool.net. There was also a yarn shop in West Vancouver that let you take a virtual tour (www.knit-n-stitch.com). The place looked cozy and plenty of room for guest seating, but too much fluorescent lighting. Let's see if we can find you a yarn shop with more natural light -- better for the wedding photos, you know.

Are you just trying to cram all the really cool life events into like, a week?

You got Rabbitch and Elaine here, you're covered on Vancouver. Stop by and grab the Seattle contingent on your way, k?

Rachael, I live in the Greater Vancouver region, and I'm friends with someone who works for a wedding planner. She's actually planning her own wedding right now. Do you want me to ask her a few questions? Email me.

Congratulations on the house. Hope you have many happy years there. Everything will come together great for the wedding.

I've never been, but I've got to put in a vote for the Sylvia!

Remember to enjoy the current moment, too, and if the plan-making becomes too intense, take a day to pretend you are *already* married, then dive back in to the planning stuff the next day.

Vancouver?! How cool! I lived in Victoria for three years so I definitely vote for a side trip there if you have the time. Or even just get married there! It's a beautiful little city and much mellower than Vancouver.

I love the Rose Garden in Beacon Hill park and the grounds of Cairgdarroch Castle. I also love the Moss Bay Cemetary (but I guess that's a little creepy for a wedding). The Royal Yacht Club is a great rain option as well. And there's even a Bluegrass Association (www.victoriabluegrass.ca). What more could you want?! I have a really bad memory and no gardening sense but I think if you're there in April, the rhododendrons would be amazing (someone please correct me if I'm way off).

We got married in Toronto City Hall, where they do lovely humanist ceremonies. Maybe Vancouver City Hall has something similar? Absolutely plan in advance -- we only got our license because the staff came in early on a Saturday! Well, it was gay pride weekend . . .
I agree that you shouldn't plan on an outdoor wedding, but maybe there's a gazebo somewhere that could provide a little shelter if you're set on being outside. Give me your new address and I'll send over a Vancouver guide book we're probably not going to need.

Hi you too. Vancouver... I used to live there and will ask my friends there for suggestions but it looks like you have a ton already. I looked into the process of being married by a captain on a ship but went a more land locked route... good on you though .... thanks for telling us all this part of your plans.
I will add my two cents though. Right now, The American dollar is 12-14 cents up from the Canadian and this currency adjustment is closing fast. There isn't a 'huge' cost saving as alluded to by previous posts.

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!! Vancouver is a wonderful city, I live in Seattle and try to get there as much as I can.
I second the recommendation for the Buchan Hotel! My partner, son and I always stay at the Buchan and always love it. It is a clean, basic small hotel in a residential block, very close to everything in downtown Vancouver. And also very affordable.

Oh poo, it's probably too late, but when my partner and I were in Vancouver this time 2 years ago, we stayed here:


Great spot in the West End. Really homey and affordable.


The comments to this entry are closed.

Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


Subscribe to Rachael's mailing list

knitting projects

DSCN13632.jpg Email me